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Reclaiming moments with Apple Watch

In his secret history of the Apple Watch story, David Pierce concludes that the device might be able to help us reclaim small moments of our lives, something I've tried to explain several times in my posts about the best Apple Watch features Apple hasn’t told you about, and a day in the life of an Apple Watch user.

Mark Zuckerberg explains why you had to download Messenger as a separate app

Facebook took a lot of heat back in July when it disabled messaging from the main Facebook app, forcing users to download the standalone Messenger app if they wanted to keep using the social network to send direct messages to friends and family. To most people, the move went vastly misunderstood, and it didn't help that the company stayed mum about it. At least until now, because in a Q&A session earlier today transcribed by The Verge, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally addressed the issue. The reason? It's all about removing friction.

The iPhone’s financial impact

An excellent read by Jeff Sommer for the New York Times about the financial impact of the iPhone on the global economy.

“The iPhone is having a measurable impact,” said Michael Feroli, the chief United States economist for JPMorgan Chase. “It’s a little gadget, but it costs a lot and it seems that everybody has one. When you do the multiplication, it’s going to matter.” He estimates that iPhone sales are adding one-quarter to one-third of a percentage point to the annualized growth rate of the gross domestic product.

If you want to learn more about the economic ramifications of the iPhone, I recommend you read the whole piece.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch drives record accessory sales

Records keep piling for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which according to research firm NPD, were responsible for driving accessory sales in the US to new highs, reaching a quarter of a billion dollars in the two weeks that followed the launch of the devices:

U.S. mobile phone accessory sales reached record levels following the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Accessory sales for the two weeks after the launch were 43 percent higher than the two weeks prior, reaching $249 million, according to The NPD Group Weekly Tracking Service.

For more details, read the full press release here.

Apple once again tops Interbrand’s Best Global Brands ranking

For the second year in a row, Apple tops Interbrand’s Best Global Brands ranking, an annual report that analyzes the brand value of the largest corporations in the world. Just like last year, Google scores the second place, right ahead of Coca Cola. Valued at $118.9 billion, Apple increased its brand value by 21%, while Google, valued at $107.43 billion, increased its brand value by 15%.

“Apple and Google’s meteoric rise to more than USD $100 billion is truly a testament to the power of brand building,” said Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer. These leading brands have reached new pinnacles—in terms of both their growth and in the history of Best Global Brands—by creating experiences that are seamless, contextually relevant, and increasingly based around an overarching ecosystem of integrated products and services, both physical and digital.”

For more details, have a look at the 2014 rankings, as well as the methodology used.

A closer look at the layers of security behind Apple Pay

Yoni Heisler gives a detailed look at the security mechanisms of Apple Pay, and explains why it may very well be the safest way to make any type of credit card payment. Based on discussions with a few credit card executives involved in the Apple Pay development process, Heisler paints a great pictures of the various security elements behind Apple Pay.

iPhone 5c was the best selling phone in Britain in August

The iPhone 5c was such a failure that it was the best selling phone in Britain (don't call it UK) during the month of August, not only outselling the Galaxy S5 by a large margin, but also the iPhone 5s.

Research firm Kantar has the exact numbers:

The iPhone 5c was the best selling phone in Britain in August with 8.9% share, outselling the flagship iPhone 5s with 7.6% and the Samsung Galaxy S5 with 6.0%.

iPhone 5c remains a misunderstood and underestimated device.

Nike gives up on the FuelBand, making more room for the iWatch

Nick Statt, reporting for CNET:

Nike is gearing up to shutter its wearable-hardware efforts, and the sportswear company this week fired the majority of the team responsible for the development of its FuelBand fitness tracker, a person familiar with the matter told CNET.

As early as this fall, Nike planned on releasing another iteration of the FuelBand -- an even slimmer version -- but cancelled the project, and it appears to have shelved all future physical product projects under the Digital Sport helm, the person familiar with the matter added.

One might argue it never really made sense for a shoe maker to build hardware. Still, it's an interesting move, at an interesting time, especially when you know Tim Cook is on Nike's board.

Who are iPhone 5c buyers?

Industry analyst Dominic Sunnebo explains some of the latest smartphone sales data collected by his firm, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. According to him, the typical iPhone 5c buyer is older and not as wealthy as the average iPhone 5s buyer:

The cheaper 5C appeals to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts. In the US, the biggest demand for these mid-end models is coming from lower income households. Some 42% of iPhone 5C owners earn less than $49,000 compared with just 21% for iPhone 5S. iPhone 5C customers also tend to be slightly older at an average of 38 years compared to 34 years for the 5S. The good news for Apple is that this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors. Almost half of iPhone 5C owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80% of 5S owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model.

It might be misunderstood, but the iPhone 5c sure is bringing new customers in.

Rumor: Instagram to get private messaging feature

An interesting piece of news coming from Om Malik:

Well-placed sources tell us that the company is gearing up to launch new private messaging features inside its still red-hot photo and video sharing service. It is also experimenting with the idea of group messaging, our source tells us. The new features are likely to find home in the next version of Instagram, which is expected before end of the year. An Instagram spokesperson (not surprisingly) declined to comment.

So far, the only way you can communicate with an Instagram user is by leaving a comment on one of his photos, which is everything but practical. Private messaging sounds like a natural and useful evolution of the service.

As an Instagram user, would you welcome this new feature?

Virgin America becomes the latest airline to let you use electronics during takeoff and landing

Virgin America, one of my personal favorite airlines, is now allowing its passengers to use their electronic devices during takeoff and landing.

As of today, Virgin America is allowing travelers unrestricted use of most portable electronic devices (PEDs) from “gate-to-gate” on all phases of flights on all of its aircraft within U.S. airspace.  Although some carriers have already lifted the restriction of PED use on many aircraft and during certain categories of flight, Virgin America’s fleet of 53 new Airbus A320-family aircraft is the first cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for PED usage during all categories of flight – even during CAT II and CAT III precision approaches and landings.

Unlike most other airlines, Virgina America has also been cleared by the FAA to let its passengers use electronic devices during all categories of flight (yes, that means even in low visibility).

Frontier is now the last major airline not allowing PED usage on its flights. It should only be a matter of time.

Southwest becomes first airline to offer gate-to-gate Wi-Fi service

Since the FAA started allowing usage of personal electronic devices during all phases of flight last month, most airlines have now embraced the new rule, letting people play Words With Friends from takeoff to landing. Often one step ahead of competitions in terms of services, Southwest Airlines takes this a bit further and now allows passengers to stay connected to Wi-Fi from gate to gate.